Coronavirus Government Response Update—FDA Expands Hand Sanitizer Danger

August 17, 2020 Coronavirus Government Response Update—FDA Expands Hand Sanitizer Danger

Welcome to the Coronavirus Government Response Update. This information is intended to keep ISSA members up to date on government affairs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today’s update touches on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanding hand sanitizer danger, limited state COVID-19 testing, U.S. retail sales rising less than expected, and more.

FDA Expands Hand Sanitizer Danger to Include 1-Propanol
The FDA warned that another harmful chemical has been found in hand sanitizers connected to a manufacturer in Mexico and should not be used. The agency said certain sanitizer products from Mexican company Harmonic Nature S de RL have tested positive for 1-propanol contamination. The chemical, the agency said, “is not an acceptable ingredient for hand sanitizer products marketed in the United States and can be toxic and life-threatening when ingested,” UPI reported.

To Speed Up Results, States Limit COVID-19 Testing
Some states are starting to limit the number of tests they conduct to give labs a chance to catch up on their backlogs and deliver results quickly enough for health departments to tell people to quarantine and to trace their contacts. California Secretary of Health Dr. Mark Ghaly announced new testing guidelines in mid-July. He said the state would start prioritizing patients who were hospitalized with symptoms as well as those in vulnerable populations, until testing turnaround times improve. Other states including Michigan, Minnesota, and Virginia also are recommending new testing priorities, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.

U.S. Retail Sales Rise Less than Expected in July
U.S. retail sales increased less than expected in July as consumers cut back on purchases of motor vehicles, and could slow further in the months ahead amid spiraling new COVID-19 infections and a reduction in unemployment benefit checks. Despite the moderation in retail sales reported by the U.S. Commerce Department, sales have recouped losses suffered when businesses were shuttered to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The third straight monthly gain lifted retail sales to their highest level since the government started tracking the series in 1992. It supported the view that consumer spending would rebound this quarter after a record collapse in the second quarter, Reuters reported.

Unemployment Stays High Amid Claims Struggle
Unemployment appears to be rising again in some states just as extra federal benefits expire with no clear replacement in sight. The most recent official state-by-state unemployment rates are from June, but a Stateline analysis of U.S. Department of Labor data released last week, and other federal statistics offers a glimpse of the current picture. It suggests that even as some businesses reopen, unemployment is rising again in seven states (California, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming) and is basically unchanged in 22 others, plus the District of Columbia, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Relief Efforts Should Cushion Economy in Months Ahead, White House Report Says
Increased transfer payments and expanded liquidity measures aimed at companies should help buffer U.S. households and businesses from the worst of the economic crisis unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic in coming months, the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) said in a recent report. Nonetheless, the economy would recover faster and with less scarring if agreement were reached on additional support, Tyler Goodspeed, the CEA’s acting chair, told Reuters in a briefing on the report. Republicans and Democrats in Congress are at an impasse over the size of another coronavirus aid package, with talks having broken down of late.

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